Executives in residence

Our executive-in-residence and entrepreneur-in-residence initiative is another way we provide students and faculty with access to accomplished business leaders.

Current Executives

Christopher Lawless

Chris Lawless is currently serving as a director of the Canadian Association for Business Economics and vice-president of the Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference. He is a member of various other professional and community boards, including the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Chris is also the former chief economist at BCI, the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. He also served as chief economist with the B.C. Ministry of Finance, with the Library of Parliament’s economic research service, and as an advisor to House of Commons and Senate committees.

Chris has an M.A. in economics from Carleton University in Ottawa, and holds the Certified Business Economist designation from the National Association for Business Economics.

Art Mercer

Art Mercer is one of BC’s top Aboriginal business leaders. With over 25 years of experience in business development and leadership in the areas of economic development, indigenous governance, fiscal financial planning and indigenous entrepreneurship, Art has proven results in human resource management, business development and project management.

Currently, Art serves as the CEO at Tseax Development Group Ltd., where he provides strategic business development services to industry companies seeking to establish business partnerships with aboriginal entities. 

Prior to his current role, Art was the CEO at the Nisga’a Commercial Group of Companies, where he successfully led human resources, contract development and execution, fiscal planning, and communication processes. 

As part of his areas of expertise, Art has aided several local businesses in qualifying large project procurements processes. Art also specializes in indigenous business development, including assisting Nations in reaching international markets, as well as navigating indigenous legal structures for business development. He boasts a strong network in public and private sectors in both indigenous and mainstream organizations.

David Miller

David Miller is the Director of International Diplomacy and Global Ambassador of Inclusive Climate Action at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. He is responsible for supporting Mayors in their climate leadership and for building a global movement for socially equitable action to mitigate and adapt to climate change. He served as Chair of C40 Cities from 2008 until 2010.

Miller was Mayor of Toronto from 2003 to 2010. Under his leadership, Toronto became widely admired internationally for its environmental leadership, economic strength and social integration. He is a leading advocate for the creation of sustainable urban economies, and a strong and forceful champion for the next generation of jobs through sustainability. Miller has held a variety of public and private positions and served as Future of Cities Global Fellow at Polytechnic Institute of New York University from 2011 to 2014. 

David Miller is a Harvard trained economist, professionally a lawyer and author of the book Solved: How the World’s Great Cities are Fixing the Climate Crisis.

Senator Jim Munson

Senator Jim Munson is best known to Canadians as a trusted journalist and communications advisor. He reported on current affairs for more than thirty years, most notably as a bureau chief and foreign correspondent for CTV News. His reporting touched upon events around the globe – from Belfast to Beijing – including the First Gulf War, the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the Tiananmen Square Massacre. At home, he covered the FLQ crisis in Quebec and later, in Ottawa, every Canadian government and federal election from 1974 onwards. Senator Munson was twice nominated for a Gemini Award in recognition of excellence in journalism.

In 2001, following his career as a reporter, Senator Munson joined the Prime Minister’s Office as a communications advisor and was made Director of Communications the following year. He was called to the Senate on December 10, 2003, to represent the province of Ontario and served as Whip of the Senate Liberal Caucus from 2008 to 2016.

Senator Munson sits as a deputy chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets, and Administration. He is a vocal advocate for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. His leadership in Parliament led to the adoption of an Act respecting World Autism Awareness Day and the landmark Senate report Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis.

Martin Rissley

Martin Rissley, CHA, has spent the past 15 years as a Hotel Director for Royal Caribbean International on the world’s largest cruise ships. He led the ship's spectacular, multi million dollar operations, offering a myriad of world class dining, entertainment options, activities and unique experiences. Serving on seven ships, promoted progressively through the largest cruise ships in the world. 

Prior to joining Royal Caribbean, for ten years, he was General Manager with Coast Hotels & Resorts properties in Victoria and Kelowna, as well as Executive Assistant Manager in Vancouver.

Martin also spent three years with Mandarin Oriental Hotels, in various positions, including two years as an Executive Trainee Manager, in Vancouver.

Additionally, Martin was previously the President of the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria, and sat on the Board of Directors for Tourism Victoria.

Born and raised in the UK, where he started his Hotel Career, Martin has also worked in Lausanne, Switzerland and Sydney, Australia in various positions.

Phillip Rubel

Throughout his career, Phillip has cultivated a unique combination of corporate and entrepreneurial skill sets applied to a broad range of consumer, luxury, technology, financial services and healthcare categories. He enjoys multicultural and multinational environments having worked extensively in Canada, the US and Japan and having responsibilities for Asian markets and global assignments. Expertise includes growing existing entities and brands to their next level and igniting start-ups that disrupt the status quo. Phillip believes that the future success for brands and businesses converge at the intersection of behavioral insight, creativity and scaling technology.

Phillip is currently managing partner and senior advisor of Song Sparrow Advisory, a firm he founded in April 2021, helping brands and boards achieve their goals by combining technology, creativity and digital marketing expertise engaging a global network of SMEs.

Phillip most recently served as director of marketing and communications at Philip Morris International in Tokyo, driving the business transformation to reduced risk products. Was previously a Partner, Innovation & Insights at KPMG where he was responsible for launching and leading two new business units creating the firm’s future in business transformation, analytics, AI and digital solutions.

Before KPMG, Phillip was managing and representative director at Designit Tokyo. In addition to leading Japan, Phillip was responsible for Asia Pacific activities and expansion opportunities and was also a member of the Global Executive Board.

In 2003, Phillip co-founded the Japan office of Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Tokyo, becoming CEO and representative director. In addition to CEO responsibilities, Phillip also founded the agency’s planning and consulting practice.

Phillip’s career experience also includes chief operating officer of McCann Erickson Worldgroup Japan; founding president and CEO of Beacon Communications (Leo Burnett) in Japan; EVP Leo Burnett USA; co-founder and MD of Rubel & Schwab Communications in Canada. Phillip began his career in Montreal with Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, quickly rising through progressive sales and marketing positions.

Phillip serves on a variety of community and industry associations, is a frequent guest lecturer on marketing and a trustee for HOPE International. Phillip is a member of the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business International Advisory Board and an Adjunct Professor. He currently serves as Executive-In-Residence at Gustavson.

Richard Zwicky

Over the past 25 years, Richard Zwicky has founded and built several Victoria BC based companies. Over the years he built more than one organization into a global leader with operations in Canada, the US, South America, and across Europe. The author of more than a dozen patents, he has developed considerable strategic management expertise and leadership skills across a spectrum of industries.

Currently, Richard is an Executive Advisor with responsibility for Global Marketing Strategies with the
Alacrity Foundation, a global business incubator and accelerator program. Richard is also the Chair at Metamend, and also an Executive Advisor with the French Accelerator. In his various roles, he continues to participate in mentoring and helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas, and themselves.

Richard began his career by building a highly profitable chain of retail stores until 1998. Upon exiting, he developed Luggageworld, one of the earliest drop-ship etail operations. Following his success with Luggageworld, he built a multi-million dollar sales funnel and delivered services to many of the best known brands across North America. 

In 2004, Richard began work on a series of new technologies that resulted in the creation of new data collection and analysis systems, leading to the creation of Enquisite, the world’s first search analytics company. Between 2006 and late 2010 he raised over $20MM in Venture Capital for Enquisite, and hired a world-class leadership team. Operations were based in San Francisco, with a continued presence in Victoria, as well as NYC, and the UK. During this period he focused on strategic sales partnerships and product development, and the company grew to over 10,000 installs, with clients and partners that included WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, The Tribune Company, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Cheapflights, Salesforce, REI, Travelers Group, and many more.

In 2010, Richard took an opportunity to exit Enquisite to spend time with his growing children, and he began providing services to various clients. Work has included developing a sales team to grow a $1MM /month recurring revenue stream, corporate reorganizations, global expansions, strategic business reviews, and reorganizing sales and services delivery teams.

The extensive range of his experience has resulted in numerous articles being published and over 100 engagements as a speaker, panelist, and keynote presenter in English, French, Spanish, as well as moderating sessions in German.

Richard continues to be active in various local organizations, and supports various University of Victoria programs, including ICE and CanAssist.

Duties